yiacoup_large_covCLAS congratulates Dr Sizen Yiacoup (IBLAS) on the publication of an important new book.

The Christian ‘reconquest’ of Islamic territory in Spain culminating in the fall of the Kingdom of Granada to the Catholic Monarchs in 1492 leads us to assume that Granadan Muslims were inevitably seen as enemies of Castile, religiously and culturally alien and relentlessly ‘other’. In her newly-published book, Frontier Memory: Cultural Conflict & Exchange in the Romancero fronterizo, Dr. Sizen Yiacoup challenges this notion through her analysis of the Castilian frontier ballads, anonymous narrative poems about warfare with Muslims on Castile’s southern frontier. In close readings of these 14th– and 15th-century ballads – traditionally considered an expression of ‘national glory’ – Dr. Yiacoup illustrates how, while apparently depicting a ‘clash of civilizations’, they in fact recall a process of cultural exchange between Castilians and Granadans which was integral to the identity and culture that later came to be known as ‘Spanish’.